6 Organizations Working To Help People Cut Back On Plastic

Plastic waste represents a huge problem for our environment and our health. Many organizations exist to eliminate single-use items and reduce waste in an effort to curb man-made climate change and promote sustainable practices. This list, in no particular order, highlights some groups fighting for a plastic-free world.

For #1, we present Plastic Free July, an initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation that works toward the vision of seeing a world without polymer-based waste. The nonprofit was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and a small team in local government in Western Australia.

As its name suggests, the initiative challenges individuals to spend one month, July, without using any plastic. In July 2020 alone, an estimated 326 million people across the globe took part in the challenge from 177 countries. On average, participants saw a 5% reduction in their household waste and recycling.

Coming in at #2, we have Refill, an app that aims to help people use less plastic. The app connects individuals to places where they can eat, drink, and shop without extraneous packaging; these establishments are committed to the practice of reusing items and reducing waste.

Created in the UK, the app was initially launched to tackle environmental issues caused by single-use water bottles. Now, Refill has expanded to connect people to places where they can get refills of everything from coffee to groceries. The company also sells a line of reusable water bottles and food containers.

The #3 entry is The Green Garmento. It makes an eco-friendly, 4-in-1 reusable garment bag that can help make one's dry-cleaning routine more sustainable. At home, the item serves as a hanging hamper, but can also function as a duffel bag when one is dropping off items at the cleaners. At pick-up time, it allows clean clothes to be hung and protected.

The Green Garmento is made from breathable, water-resistant material. The female-owned, Los Angeles-based company has been featured by the media many times, having appeared on ABC's Shark Tank, the Today Show, and in the New York Times.

Up next, at #4, we present Sailors for the Sea, which claims to be the world's only ocean conservation organization aiming to engage, educate, and activate the sailing and boating community toward restoring ocean health. Among its programs is Clean Regattas, a sustainability certification for water-based events. It offers sailors, race organizers, and marina managers a tool kit of best practices to improve their environmental footprint.

Another program is Kids Environmental Lesson Plans, or KELP. It involves free, downloadable marine science activities meant to encourage curiosity in kids, and to help them learn about important ocean health issues such as plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

For #5, we have the Northcoast Environmental Center, headquartered in Arcata, California. Its mission is to promote understanding of the relations between people and the biosphere, and to conserve, protect, and celebrate the terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems of Northern California and Southern Oregon.

On Coastal Cleanup Days, the organization gathers volunteers together to pick trash up around their neighborhoods and on the beach. Another project, the Reduce Single-Use Pledge, asks restaurants to only provide single-use utensils upon customer request.

Last but not least, at #6, we get Zero Waste Washington. This organization, based in Seattle, works to protect people and the natural world by advocating for items designed and produced to be healthy, safe, and continually recycled and reused.

Zero Waste helps assess litter across the state of Washington, and supports legislation for reusable bag and other single-use plastic items laws. Using safe disposal boxes, the organization also helps promote the proper discard of items such as medicine, electronics, mercury light bulbs, tires, paint, photovoltaic modules, and more.